Hello Health co-founder lands $1.85 million for new venture, Sherpaa

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 4, 2012        

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Money TreeDr. Jay Parkinson recently announced that his latest venture, Sherpaa, has raised $1.85 million from O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, First Round Capital, Collaborative Fund, and angels including, ex-president of Tumblr John Maloney, and OpenX and Jirafe founder Scott Switzer, TechCrunch reports. Parkinson is perhaps best known as a co-founder of Hello Health, a subsidiary of Myca Health, which offers a “patient management platform” to physicians that includes an EHR, personal health portals, and a suite of online communication tools.

With Sherpaa, Parkinson is mostly focused on helping startups and small companies navigate healthcare and health insurance for their employees. Parkinson tells Xconomy that Sherpaa will save employers between $1,000 and $4,000  year.

The service will provide employees with 24/7 access to doctors via email of phone. Parkinson says that about 70 percent of the time an email or phone call can solve the problem, but when people are in a panic and have no access, they might just go to the emergency room. Sherpaa aims to help “inexperienced employers make the right choices” when it comes to health plans.

“If you’re a company of 100 people, you don’t have the expertise to spend your money wisely,” Parkinson tells Xconomy. “So you go to an insurance broker, they fire back a list of 30 plans, and it’s eenie-meeny-miny-moe to pick the best one. Oftentimes employers over-insure their employees.”

The Sherpaa business model charges employers a monthly fee per employee.

While the startup only currently operates in New York City and has been working with Tumblr and nine other startups in the city, Parkinson has identified about 4,000 other potential customers in town. He aims to take Sherpaa to other cities, including possibly, San Francisco, Washington DC, and Chicago in about a year’s time, but not before it works well in New York.

More over at Xconomy

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iSonea raises $1.05 million, announces plans for AirSonea

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 4, 2012        

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iSonea AsthmaSense App

iSonea's AsthmaSense App

Medical technology company iSonea has raised $1.05 million in funding from Australian businessman Bruce Mathieson, who now owns about 15 percent of the company.

iSonea’s CEO Michael Thomas explained that the funding would help the company build more of its medical devices’ functionality into the smartphone platform: “iSonea is committed to developing innovative, non-invasive devices and mobile health applications to improve the management of chronic and costly respiratory disorders such as asthma and COPD. After the successful launch of our AsthmaSense mobile smartphone app this summer, the company is now focused on integrating our existing proprietary ARM sensors and analytical software with the AsthmaSense mobile smartphone app to develop an app based wheeze monitor known as AirSonea.”

As MobiHealthNews reported earlier this year, while iSonea is currently a medical device company that makes its own hardware, it believes that at its core it is a smart algorithm and software company. It intends to become hardware agnostic and that smartphones will allow them to do that.

iSonea’s core offering today is a medical device called the Wheezometer, a point of care, handheld device that “analyzes 30 seconds of breath sounds using advanced signal processing algorithms to detect, quantify and objectively document the presence of wheeze and its extent,” according to iSonea’s website.

In February iSonea inked a deal with Qualcomm Life to bring the company’s devices to Qualcomm’s 2net platform for home health monitoring. The next month iSonea began recruiting for a pediatric asthma clinical trial that would make use of its Wheezometer device. Earlier this summer iSonea launched its first iPhone app, AsthmaSense, which offers journaling features, medication and testing alert reminders, emergency services contact information, and the ability to share data with caregivers and providers.

AirSonea, which Thomas announced for the first time in the Mathieson funding announcement, will be an Android or iPhone-based version of the Wheezometer that will likely make use of a peripheral device that attaches to the phone’s microphone.

More on the funding announcement here.

Stanford team demonstrates tiny, wireless powered pacemaker

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 4, 2012        

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Stanford wireless powered pacemaker

"A team of engineers at Stanford has shown that, contrary to earlier models, high-frequency wireless power transmission to a device in the human body is possible. These images show power delivery to the human heart from a 200MHz low-frequency transmitter (left) and a 1.7GHz high-frequency transmitter (right). Red indicates greatest power; blue is least. Note focusing of power on the heart in the right image." Image Credit: John Ho, Stanford Engineering.

Following a breakthrough in the application of wireless electricity for implantable devices, researchers at Stanford University have unveiled a new, tiny pacemaker that is so small it could fit on the head of a pin. The same team of Stanford researchers developed a tiny medical sensor, which MobiHealthNews reported on in February, that can float through a person’s blood vessels, powered by a person’s pulse. The new device is contained in a cube the size of eight tenths of a millimeter.

The Stanford team recently demonstrated the implantable cardiac device, which is powered by radio waves transmitted from outside the body.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, the researchers believe that the technology has applications beyond pacemaker, to include other implantable devices including swallowable endoscopes known as pillcams that travel through digestive tract, permanent pacemakers, and precision brain stimulators.

The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Applied Physics Letters, demonstrated “wireless power transfer to a millimeter-sized device implanted five centimeters inside the chest on the surface of the heart—a depth once thought out of reach for wireless power transmission,” according to the Daily Mail report.

In February, the team’s lead researcher, electrical engineer and Stanford assistant professor Ada Poon, demonstrated a tiny, wireless powered, self propelled medical device capable of controlled motion through blood, which the school said could lead to an era of “swallow the surgeon” medical care. Poon showed off the device during a demo at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference earlier this year. Stanford predicts that those devices “could travel through the bloodstream to deliver drugs, perform analyses, and perhaps even zap blood clots or remove plaque from sclerotic arteries.”

More on Poon’s latest innovation over at the Daily Mail.

Vecna offers mobile, easy-to-use EHR with solar charger

By: Neil Versel | Sep 4, 2012        

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CliniPAK Vecna TechnologiesSome groups have criticized the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for not building usability requirements into the national standards for “meaningful use” of electronic health records, suggesting that usability issues have hindered adoption.

Though it hasn’t been designed to help providers achieve meaningful use – or necessarily for the U.S. market – a new mobile records system takes usability to a whole new level.

Vecna Cares, the charitable arm of Cambridge, Mass.-based health IT and robotics firm Vecna Technologies, and their jointly run Global Health Initiative have designed an EHR interface for people with limited computer literacy, suitable for use in areas without reliable electrical service. The system, called Clinical Patient Administration Kit (CliniPAK), is a portable, wireless data collection and reporting kit in a suitcase-sized case.

Designed for community health workers, CliniPAK features a touch-screen tablet with software providing automated patient check-in, vitals capture, clinical decision support, case review and support for biometric and RFID devices. The box also includes an on-board server and solar-powered charger. Keep reading>>

Five of the fastest growing digital health companies

By: Brian Dolan | Aug 30, 2012        

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Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsEvery year Inc. Magazine publishes a list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. While the publication’s method has its drawbacks, the resulting list is much more concrete than many of the subjective lists of top companies, apps, or products floating around. Inc. ranks companies by percent growth in revenue over the course of the past few years. What’s more Inc. publishes the percent growth figure for the three-year period along with total revenues that the company raked in for 2011. Rare data for private companies to disclose.

To qualify, companies need at least $100,000 in revenues for the first year (in this case it was 2008) and at least $2 million in revenues by 2011. Since the 5,000 companies are ranked by percent growth in revenue, those that have a smaller revenue figure to start with are more likely to make the list, but, as noted above, it’s a better method than most.

This year I noticed a handful of digital health companies found their way into the top 5,000. At least a couple of these should be familiar: Keep reading>>

Nursing case manager on intricacies of mobile diabetes care

By: Neil Versel | Aug 30, 2012        

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ATT WellDocEarlier this week, MobiHealthNews reported on positive – albeit vague – preliminary results from a pilot test of WellDoc’s DiabetesManager system among employees of health insurer Health Care Service Corp. (HCSC) who had type 2 diabetes.

But what does it really mean that 88 percent of the 156 participants called DiabetesManager “highly useful” for self-management of their condition?

Denise Harper-Saxon, a case management nurse for Chicago-based HCSC, tells MobiHealthNews about the comments she heard from one of the test subjects. “Before I started monitoring, I didn’t know what was up or what was down in terms of my blood-sugar reading,” Harper-Saxon reports being told.

DiabetesManager provides real-time feedback, coaching and clinical decision support to diabetic patients via mobile phone or Web portal, based on hemoglobin A1C readings, food choices, and physical activity. “Once they understood what was really going on with their blood sugar in the course of a day, we saw that they were becoming more accountable,” Harper-Saxon says. Keep reading>>